101 - Warbeasts
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- This article is part of Warmachine University's Crash Course (101) series, which is "Basic Training" aimed at new players who are still learning the core rules.
- The 101 series is intended to help you understand the rulebook, but you shouldn't be reading this instead of the rulebook.
This article is a recap of the Warbeast rules. (For a verbatim copy of the rules, refer to Warbeast.) If you've just read the 101 article on Warjacks, you'll find this article is very similar; the only real differences are how warbeasts generate fury.
Warbeasts are powerful weapons of war, that are turned up to eleven when properly controlled by their warlock. They have a swathe of special rules, mostly to do with how they interact with their warlock, generate fury points, and making Power Attacks.
Mostly they are the big, hulking brawlers of the battlefield (although smaller, support-style ones do exist). They are immensely strong, crush bones and grind enemies to dust. If equipped with ranged attacks, they are the most powerful guns that can be mounted.
You cannot take warbeasts by themselves. Instead warbeasts must be bossed around by either your main warlock or a lesser warlock. You have to decide which it will be when you write your army list.
Warbeasts & fury
A warbeast can be forced, which will both give the warbeast a benefit and generate a fury for the warlock to use later. The restrictions on getting forced are:
- A warbeast can only be forced during its activation - except for when it shakes an effect.
- The warbeast needs to be in its warlock's control range.
- It needs to have a non-crippled spirit.
- If its current fury points are already equal to its FURY stat, it can no longer be forced.
The benefits a warbeast can gain are:
- During the Control Phase, after leeching and doing frenzy checks, a warbeast can shake knockdown, stationary, Blind, and other shake-able effects.
- Warbeasts can buy/boost attacks similar to the way warlocks can, described above.
- Warbeasts must be forced to run or charge (nearly all the other model types in the game can run/charge for free).
- Warbeasts can be forced if they want to perform a Power Attack. Most of the time, though, they're better off to make their normal attacks (which they can do for free).
- Warbeasts can be forced to cast their animus as a spell. Each animus will have a COST listed, which is how much fury the warbeast will generate when it casts that animus.
- Lastly, warbeasts can be riled for fury, even if it runs. Buy/boosting attacks, running/charging, or making a power attack will give the beast 1 fury each time. Riling it will give the beast as much as you want - essentially its a way to stockpile fury ready for your next turn.
Fury does not auto-expire. The main way you get rid of fury from a warbeast is by the warlock leeching it at the start of the turn, as described above. There are various other fury-management tools such as Serenity, Soothing Song, Consume Fury, etc.
If you don't get rid of all the fury points on your warbeast, then you need to do a Frenzy check at the start of your next turn (see below).
Most models in the game just have a health bar, but warbeasts have a damage spiral. This spiral has six branches, labelled 1 to 6. Some of the branches merge near the centre of the spiral. When you damage a warbeast, you roll a dice to see which spiral takes the damage. You start at the outside of the spiral and work inwards, and then overlap to the next spiral to the clockwise.
The six spirals are divided into 3 aspects: Body, Mind, and Spirit. If an entire branch is knocked out, that aspect becomes crippled and the warbeast suffers these effects:
- Crippled Body - The warbeast rolls one fewer die on damage rolls.
- Crippled Mind - The warbeast rolls one fewer die on attack rolls.
Additionally, the model cannot make chain attacks, power attacks, or special attacks.
- Crippled Spirit - The warbeast cannot be forced.
When you heal a warbeast, you can heal any spiral in any order.
After your warlock has leeched fury, if any warbeasts still have any fury on them, that warbeast must take a threshold check.
- Roll 2d6, add the warbeast's current fury points, and compare it to the warbeast's threshold (THR) stat.
- If the roll is less than or equal to the THR, then the warbeast behaves normally this turn.
- If the roll is greater than the THR, it frenzies.
When it frenzies:
- It immediately activates.
- Without being forced, it automatically shakes knockdown, stationary, and any other effects that can be shaken.
A frenzied warbeast also ignores effects that would cause it to forfeit its Normal Movement or Combat Action during an activation in which it frenzies.
- It immediately charges directly toward the closest model (friend or foe) in its line of sight without being forced.
The frenzied warbeast cannot voluntarily stop its movement before contacting its charge target.
- It makes one attack against the model it charged with the highest-POW melee weapon that has range to the target.
The attack roll is automatically boosted.
If the warbeast moved at least 3˝ during the charge, the attack is a charge attack and its damage roll is boosted.
A frenzied warbeast cannot make Assault ranged attacks or additional attacks.
- At the end of the warbeast’s frenzy activation, it is no longer frenzied and you can remove any number of fury points from it.
Frenzies happen during the Control Phase of the turn, but you can't activate the warbeast later in the normal Activation Phase. The warbeast can't use or trigger any optional effects (such as Snacking or Sidestep), but it must trigger compulsory effects (such as Berserk).
Interaction with warlocks
Unlike their warjack counterparts, the interaction of 'lock and 'beast is very important.
- Warbeasts are the normal source of fury tokens, which a warlock needs to get from the beast if they want to do anything useful.
- Warbeasts out of control range can't normally generate fury nor attack very well.
- Every warbeast has an animus which is a spell they can cast, and their warlock also gets access to that spell while the beast is alive.
This means changing which 'beasts you put in your army can change what your warlock can do.
When you build your army list you assign warbeasts to be in your warlock's battlegroup. In fact, you have to assign a minimum number to each battlegroup. A caster can only force fury to, and leech fury from, their warbeasts. Also many spells/feats only affect battlegroup models (such as Energizer).
A battlegroup is a shared noun, a bit like the word "team"; the warbeasts are in the warlock's battlegroup, but also the warlock is in the warbeast's battlegroup.
It is possible to add more warbeasts to your battlegroup mid-game, but only if that warbeast's original controller died earlier in the game. This doesn't happen very often, especially in beginner games, so we won't cover it here. Instead it is detailed in the intermediate lesson LPG - Death of a Controller.
The gargantuans are the largest and most powerful warbeasts ever to stride the battlefield. As a result of their great size and raw power, there are a number of special rules that apply to gargantuans but not to smaller warbeasts.
|See also the Warbeast page for a recap of the core warbeast rules.